"You owe it to everyone you love (including yourself) to find pockets of tranquility in your busy world."
What is it about a garden that brings such joy, such peace, such tranquility to a person? Is it just the fact that something is alive, vibrant and healthy or is it something altogether different than that? I have been in all sorts of gardens to know that it isn't always the fact that the garden is teeming with color that makes it magical, at least for me. In fact, Autumn is typically my favorite time of the year yet things are going dormant and turning colors; basically dying. But just being in a garden space or out in nature brings such a peaceful feeling to me that it is hard to beat.
Just today while doing the daily watering of my garden I was thinking to myself (as I do on a daily basis in my garden) just exactly what my garden represents to me. There amongst all the plants that I have purchased at different garden centers were the plants that I brought with me two years ago from my first house. Those plants had special meaning to me and it was imperative to me when we moved that they make the move also. For me, there wasn't even a question as to "if" I was going to transplant them or not. They were like my children and there was no way that I was going to leave them behind.
The lilac bush that my grandmother gave to me which always bloomed on my birthday in April came. The Virgina Creeper, samples of almost every iris that I had, the maple trees that were starting to really take hold yet graced me with the ability to dig them up and bring them over here also came along. And they are still thriving. When our favorite poodle Misty died unexpectedly on Easter Sunday before we moved, we planted a Weeping Cherry tree to help us remember how much we missed her and all the tears we weeped after she passed. This year I planted a Weeping Cherry tree on our new property and even though it is not the original tree, it reminds me to remember Misty. It is a place-holder.
Today, as I watered the plants in the early morning, I glanced at the trees that my friend Bob gave to me years ago. I said hello to the Virginia Creeper passed down to me from my grandmother. She used to have it as a living wall between her house and her neighbor's. Now I do the same. It is gently creeping up a fence on the perimeter of our yard and one day in the near future it, too, will form a living wall blocking out views of the neighbor's yard. And I remembered how beautiful it looks when Autumn arrives and the reds and oranges that the leaves turn before dropping their leaves and going dormant for yet another Winter.
As I made the rounds of my garden today, bending every once in awhile to pluck a weed out of the garden or to dead-head a plant here and there, a smell drifted past me. It was a very familiar fragrance. I turned and there it was: the rose that I brought home with me from my grandmother's home when she passed away. I have babied that rose for years and years and still it's fragrance and appearance remind me of her. Planted alongside the rose is a walnut tree that will have to be transplanted this Winter. It, too, came from my grandmother and is the baby of the original walnut tree that must be 30 feet tall by now at my old home. One day, there will be a giant walnut tree on this property and it, too, will remind me of its origins.
Plants are what connect us I have decided. They connect us to each other, they remind us of the person that first introduced us to the plant, they bring us closer to those we love when we can smell and see them growing. Some of my succulents have been passed down to me from my Aunt. Some plants I have received from my cousin because the deer eat them in his unfenced yard. Always, they weave a direct connection in my mind back to the source of where they came and for me, that always leads me to a place of tranquility, to a place of love, to a place of remembering.
The connections run deep for me in my garden. And it is my hope that when I am gone that the plants that I have passed along to my friends and family, will help them remember me. When they water, they can quietly say "hello Teri...I'm glad that you are here with me in thought". Thanks for the memories, garden!
"The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quiet, alone with the heavens, nature and God. Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be and that God wishes to see people happy, amidst the simple beauty of nature." Anne Frank